Friday, May 6, 2011

Redeemable Sin, Redeeming Love

I married my wife because I liked her and because I loved her.  During the affair I convinced myself that I had never felt either way or if I had it wasn't something that was meant to last.  It's this lie that many people tell themselves as they enter into an affair.  I don't think there is any cut and dry way to help remind a person struggling with these questions, but they are often at the center of a person's struggle to recapture the feelings they think are missing.

One thing that I take away from this part of our story, is that even while things deteriorated while I was unfaithful, Lyryn's faithfulness to our marriage was increased.  If her attitude had become as poor as mine I'm not sure that we would have ever made it to recovery.  This was only possible because of how much time she spent pressing into God's word, building up her spirit with worship music and seeking fellowship with friends who would built her up.

The first year after the affair was a struggle for both of us, but in very different ways.  I struggled with letting go of the decisions that I had made and the lies that I had convinced myself were true.  Lyryn was not very easy to love during the first year of our recovery, so I had to pull out a wildcard from my past to help me cope.

I ran cross-country in high school (if I may brag a bit, I was the 5th man on our team when we won the sate championship) and was reminded of the physical pain of the hard workouts and how the beginning of the season brought cramps and soreness.  Remembering that the only way to overcome those obstacles was to press on and push through them, I knew that I must press into my wife and "gut out" the real tough stuff, because it would pass.

Every night I ask Jayden if he wants to pray for anything specific.  More recently I've been encouraging him to pray himself.  I don't know where he learned it, because it wasn't from Lyryn or I, but recently he's started praying, "God is good, God is great..."  I realize that this is a pretty common opening part of a prayer, but despite being so simple it maintains such a powerful truth.  Too often we try to take on the world, all with our own strength.  This is a futile effort.  It takes humility to admit that we can't do something all on our own, but it's in that submission that God can truly transform your life.

As I sit here reflecting on this past month and how much of our “business” is now out there for the whole world to see, I can’t help but still feel humbled that God was so faithful to restore my marriage when so many others have been lost.

I never once thought I would be in the place I am today. I thought that my suffering and hurt would last a lifetime and I would never get over what Jesse did. I never thought I would ever be ready to share our story or relive it as I did when writing this. I never thought that I would fall even more in love with the man who broke my heart. I never thought my marriage could ever be redeemed and the fact that it is, I’m beyond blessed and grateful.

After the first year of hashing everything out and getting to the root of many of our issues, I can honestly say that our relationship started to really change in amazing ways. We started to fall for one another again and found a new appreciation for what the other person meant to us. We realized how much we love and enjoyed one another's company and how much fun we had just being together.

For our 6th wedding anniversary Jesse surprised me by taking me to New York City to see it all lit up for Christmas. This is something my husband never did before and for a man that only a year year ago told me that he thought we were never friends this was absolutely amazing. It was magical and so romantic! He was so cute and had everything planned out perfectly. He was like a little school boy when he told me what was planned. I hadn’t seen him so excited like that since high school, more importantly I knew he wanted to be there with ME! We spent the day walking, talking and laughing. Though my UGG’s started to leak and it was painfully bitter cold, I enjoyed every moment we spent together.

The more we shared our life together and opened our hearts to one another each day, the more and more we fell back in love with each another. I’ve grown to trust him fully with my heart again. He has proven time and time again how much he wants me and this marriage.

When I wanted to give up, he kept pressing-in to prove that he was here for the long haul. Our friendship is better than ever, our love is more intimate than ever and our marriage is the best it has ever been. I have no doubt in my spirit that he is completely devoted to me and this family and it’s all because of God’s promise and love for our covenant.

For our 7th anniversary this past December, Jesse was so confident in our love and commitment towards one another that he got this amazing tattoo on his ribs proclaiming that God made me for him and him for me. The tattoo is a paraphrase of Genesis 2:23, it says, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, from this man I make woman.” And below that verse lays my name in Hebrew.

There was a time in our life when my husband rejected me, disliked me, and believed that he wanted nothing to do with me. But here we are today, more in love than ever before, because we chose to trust God and allow Him to work in our lives to better us and our family. I can stand before you today and tell you that you can live a happy life after infidelity.

I can stand before you now and say; yes it’s possible to love the person who once betrayed you. I can stand before you today and tell you that it was worth every tear and heartbreak to be where I am today. After everything we have gone through, we are still soaking up the wonderfulness of the heavenly Father's promises. And we know there is still so much more to come.

As this series comes to a close today we want to thank all of you that have joined us on this journey.  You have been a blessing, encouragement and support to both Jesse and I.  I am amazed at how far God has brought us and I am thrilled about the future that God has planed for us - Jeremiah 29:11.  This has been a long road to walk down, but hopefully you have seen the awesome work of the Father and just maybe, we have inspired a few couples out there to give all they’ve got to their marriage.

Through this series, I have been so grateful to have met some amazing young ladies out there that have just blessed my socks off by working so hard at restoring their marriage. I will forever have a friendship with these women.  God has closed doors that needed to finally be closed and opened new ones that breathe life into my soul. 

Our hearts are to be a continuous support to all couples out there struggling with life's daily battles and (God willing) make this a full-time ministry for us.  My dream is to one day write  for Shannon Ethridge and then possibly write a book that will touch thousands.  My heart is to bring glory to the God that taught me the meaning of redeeming love and what it means to be faithful even when someone has not been faithful to you.  I'm so unworthy of what God has given me, but thankful His redeeming love for me is always constant. 

Our story is far from over, this journey has just begun.  This series was only a little piece of our hearts, but we still have so much more to say.  This will not be the last thing we write about this subject, instead it is the start of digging deeper into it.  We are still taking questions and we'll be answering them from time to time.  Believe it or not I also have many more posts about this I never even published so I'll still be exposing my heart on a regular basis. 

So thank you again for allowing me to be vulnerably and honest with you.  Thank you for reliving this with me and helping me walk through even more healing.  Thank you again for your sweet comments, emails and prayers.  
Also we have many more things up our sleeve when it comes to this blog; including something absolutely fantastic this coming Monday and you won't want to miss it!!!!!!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and hope to see you back here on Monday! 


Mrs. Dirnberger said...

Thank you and Jesse both for your story. It has inspired ME and I have never been through anything like this. Although I haven't gone through this, I am married and all these post make me want to be better in my marraige.
I can see you two still married at 80 and loving life.....

katie + bret said...

This has really been an amazing story to read - You guys really are a wonderful testiment and I cannot imagine the strength it took both of you to get through that time in yalls marriage plus the strength to share it with others. Thank you.

Thank tattoo is gorgeous!

Kelsey said...

So glad that I got to read this series! I love his tattoo! and I am excited to see what monday has in store.

Katie A. said...

I'm so sad to see this journey come to an end! I am so grateful that y'all decided to open up your hearts and lives on this blog. It came at just the right time for me and has brought about so much healing in my own life as well. Thank you so much!

Meredith said...

Thank you guys for your story!

Aishlea said...

I have really been touched by your series of posts...and am so thankful God has restored your marriage!! :) I can't wait for Monday!

Allison said...

I have followed your blog since you began this series, and it's very encouraging to see other families of the younger generation following after God's plan for their lives. I pray many more wonderful years of amazing blessings upon your family. God bless you both, and your precious boys!

Unknown said...

Thank YOU for sharing this story! It's been such a blessing and encouragement to me...and has encouraged me to fight for my marriage! Thank-you so much for sharing!

May God bless you both!

Unknown said...

I gave loved logging into blogger each monring and reading your story. I am more than happy that you and Jesse are stronger than ever. I love you guys :) can't wait to hear the news!!!

Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your story - I know God has great plans for the rest of it!

Kristin Williams Balla said...

I am so proud of my amazing daughter and her equally amazing husband. I have personally watched your love begin, grow, radiate, wobble, wane, splinter, implode, rebuild, and now radiate even brighter than it ever has!

It has been a painful journey for all of us (especially you two!) but one that God is using for His glory. I am so impressed with what each of you have done to maintain your covenant. You are an example to all of God's redeeming love and grace.

Trina said...

I'm so thrilled with how much response your series has gotten and I'm sure will get in the future.

Thanks to you and Jesse for being so transparent.

Brittany said...

I'm behind on blog reading and finally go to catch up. I want to thank you for sharing a piece of your life with us, especially that was so personal. I hope it gave all your readers something to think about. It definitely made me look at marriage in a new, better, light. Thank you for that. :)

Heidi ★ said...

I just sat here & read your entire story & felt every emotion along with you. Thank you for sharing & your faith is inspiring!

Christina said...

Hi! I have no idea how I found your blog, but I did and this weekend I just read you and your husband's story. I just to say thank you for sharing. I was the one that had an emotional affair and my husband was crushed. We have come back together but seemed to just leave the past in the past and not really work on our issues.

Your story inspires me to try and get the love we had back again.